Misc | Sep 19, 2017

7 available photonics technologies cooler than sharks with laser beams

News Article Image of 7 available photonics technologies cooler than sharks with laser beams

TechLink has hundreds of photonics technologies available for commercial license. (Illustration by Troy Carter/TechLink)

Sorry, Dr. Evil.

We still don’t have “sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.”

But there is this cat, and TechLink does have a list of very cool photonics technologies straight out of military laboratories that are available to businesses looking for their next cutting-edge products.

1. Ultra-high Performance Chalcogenide Laser Source

Whoa! Air Force researchers figure out how to make high-performance doped solid optical materials using hot isostatic pressing to drive the diffusion of transition metal ions into chalcogenide laser host crystals, such as chromium, iron, cobalt, or nickel into zinc selenide. The resulting crystals provide an unparalleled increase in performance over the current state of the art with significantly reduced manufacturing cost and increased throughput.

2. Universal Polarization Converter

Outlaws? No, but the Air Force Research Laboratory–Sensors Directorate has developed a patent-pending, universal polarization converter capable of converting unpolarized light into pure polarized light of any kind with 100 percent efficiency. Check your physics handbook folks, that breaks the Law of Malus, which states that the maximum conversion efficiency of unpolarized light into polarized form cannot exceed 50 percent. Applications for the converter include coherent beam combination, sensor enhancement, LCD brightness improvement, wavelength division multiplexer loss reduction, optical switches and filters, LIDAR and radar sources, and improved antenna designs. Interested?

3. Enhanced field-of-view LiDAR

Lidar receiver performance is directly related to the effective aperture of the input optical system. A larger aperture increases the amount of light energy collected and increases the effective range of the system. However, the field-of-view (FOV) of the optical system is inversely proportional to the effective aperture, practically limiting the size of the effective aperture for a given FOV. Army researchers have solved this dilemma by dividing the overall FOV into smaller pieces, with each smaller piece covered by a separate receiver element that can have a larger effective aperture due to its smaller FOV. When properly combined, the small FOV receivers increase the overall system performance over that which can be achieved with a single, wide FOV receiver.

4. Selective camera jamming

Want to prevent anyone from filming your embarrassing dance moves? Navy researchers have developed an electro-optical identification, jamming, and disabling system comprised of an optical source emitting a signal towards an EO device, a detector to capture the optical energy reflected from the EO device, and a controller analyzing the detected optical energy to determine whether the EO device is authorized or not.

5. Hybrid lidar-radar for medical diagnostics

This hybrid lidar-radar system designed at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division–Patuxent River can detect cancerous tumors in humans. It uses continuous wave light that is modulated at frequencies up to 60 GHz. The system filters the return signals from the surrounding tissue at a subcarrier modulation frequency so it can reject noise in the scattered lights, while at the same time retaining the coherent, unscattered and modulated light information for detecting the tumors.

6. 1240 nm laser

Air Force researchers have developed a Raman amplifier having a novel design enabling high-Raman conversion efficiencies and output powers in addition to linewidths which are controllable by the seed source. In this invention, a RE doped Raman amplifier is spliced directly onto a Raman resonator system. The RE doped amplifier is both seeded with the initial signal and the desired output signal through a wavelength division multiplexer (WDM). Because of power limitations associated with the WDM, it is necessary to amplify the initial signal via a downstream amplifier. This amplifier may consist of one or multiple stages with each stage being pumped with diodes. The desired output signal and amplified initial signal are then both injected into the Raman resonator(s) where multiple orders of Stokes are generated in one or more Raman amplifiers. The desired signal passes through the system and is amplified by the Stokes signal.

7. Single laser atom interferometer

Navy researchers have developed a single laser atom interferometer that is less-complicated, smaller, and less-expensive. The core of the device is a modulated laser driven by direct current for frequency tuning, and an alternating current with two radio frequencies that can generate repump and Raman frequencies, such that only one laser is needed to produce all the frequencies required for operation.

Interested? Get in touch with one of our experts for no-cost licensing assistance. Want to browse more? Search TechLink’s database of 5,000+ military technologies for more opportunities to grow your business.

Headshot Image of Austin Leach, PhD, CLP

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